The lifting of the eviction ban places 400,000 households at a high risk of eviction across the UK.
The ban on evictions that was in place during the COVID-19 crisis was lifted at the end of May in England and is due to be lifted in Wales on 30 June. In practice, the ban on evictions has already been lifted in Scotland, as there are no areas currently under the strictest level 3 or 4 COVID-19 restrictions, which include protection from eviction. The eviction ban was introduced at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020 and was repeatedly extended to ease pressure on those who had accrued rent arrears due to financial pressures.
Now, 400,000 households are facing a high risk of eviction and have already received eviction notices or warnings from their landlords, according to research commissioned by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Many will struggle to find a new private rented home that is affordable and social housing is in chronically short supply. Indeed, 72% of private renters who have been cutting back on essential items such as heating and food to pay rent are worried they won’t be able to find another home in the future, according to research by Shelter. This equates to around 1.9 million privately renting adults.
Unless further support is provided to help those facing eviction, such as grants or interest-free loans from the government to help pay off rent arrears, hundreds of thousands of private renters will be at risk of homelessness. As we head into the autumn, this situation could become even more acute.
Katie Earnshaw, Policy and Research Manager at Emmaus UK, said: “We are already seeing many thousands of households faced with the trauma of losing their homes. The furlough scheme and the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit are both due to end in September, which will see many more people unable to make ends meet. It’s vital that the government takes action to address the growing crisis facing people living in the private rented sector and prevent a devastating new wave of homelessness”.